Diary of a student

Is it 9-5?

Jessie | Sylvia | Miles | James | Amanda | Jin


I reckon I usually get up at about half past nine, in time for a lecture at ten. Lectures are not compulsory, so it is extremely tempting to stay asleep, but it isn’t really advisable. They do turn out to be very useful.

After lectures, I spend half an hour or so chasing books around the faculty library and swearing under my breath at the complicated but probably necessary shelving system. I then return to College feeling as though I have done a solid morning’s work when actually I have done nothing at all.

I spend far more time than I should having lunch in the bar, chatting to whoever happens to be there, doing the cross-word and putting music on the juke box.

The bar shuts at three, and by that time I have realized that if I don’t do at least five hours solid work then I will have to stay up all night trying to work out what philosophy actually is. At this point I adjourn either to my room or to the library to do some serious arranging of paper, making of tea and staring at the floor before finally (finally) getting some work done.

The most dangerous period of the day comes at about 5pm. It is after about two hours work that I begin to think of all the pressing, un-work related things that I have to do, like going to Sainsbury’s or doing my washing – an event that only occurs when I have an essay deadline in the next twenty-four hours. However, if I can get through the 5pm barrier I will work for another couple of hours and then make myself supper- I do most of my own cooking.

I quite often cook for other people as well. If this is the case, then I provide the food, they provide the alcohol, and we drink that before proceeding to the bar to continue there, from whence to someone’s room , or to one of Cambridge’s other delightful venues.

I am often involved in some kind of production or other, in which case some of my evening will invariably be spent in rehearsals.

Sylvia, PPS

As a rule, I get up far too late. Then I attempt to start working in the bar so I can get a croissant and a coffee, then lunch, the culmination of breakfast.

Then it’s work, work, work, and from there off to chapel to sing for an hour.

Having done this, there is more lovely work to take up the time until dinner. I tend not to work in the evening. As for social activities I particularly enjoy parties in people’s rooms and various missions to the pubs and to Grantchester. It is quite amazing how one can just walk towards Grantchester and get out of town so quickly, and the country is really lovely.

Miles, History

Morning : Get up. Lateness of the hour is directly proportional to the intake of alcohol the night before

10.45am: Wander down to the faculty. Token lecture at 11am, search computers for ages to find book, reach the shelf – it’s not there.

12.22pm: Return to College for lunch

1.15pm: This is where the serious work begins. Spread the books out in front of you and prepare for an afternoon’s hard slog. Alternative location: fifth floor of the UL Seeley Library, (the History Faculty Library).

4.15pm: Give up on studying and wander into JCR. Nobody is there, so make trip to Sainsbury’s. Reach queues at 4.45pm

5.30pm: Reach the checkout at Sainsbury’s. The girl on the till then decides to finish her shift and you have to wait another ten minutes for the replacement. Moral of the story: shop early, shop often.

6pm: Recover from the shopping experience

7.30pm: Formal Hall. At last, a chance to use all those unwanted pennies in your change. and sample the finest cuisine the College has to offer.

9pm: Socialising in the bar day descends into night…

James, PPS

My normal day… well it very much depends as the politics department itself doesn’t schedule many lectures (or didn’t in the second year), so it’s quite inconsistent whether I’ll be going to lectures – depends whether the history dept are putting on any interesting/useful ones.

But assume I’ve got a 10 o’clock one. Go to that and then get a coffee and doughnut. Try to do some work before lunch, always from a sandwich shop. Eat it whilst watching neighbours. Then hopefully do some serious hours of work in the afternoon, maybe popping into town for a break to stock up supplies or go to the bank.

Hall for dinner at 6 o’clock. If I’m working hard then work after that, otherwise read/watch television/wander about with mates until going to pub. I also go to quite a lot of plays. There is a huge amount of student drama going on here, some of it really decent. If I’m working late I do tend to try to get a pint in at last orders, so I can look forward to something while being so diligent!

Amanda, Archaeology and Anthropology

My life seems to consist mainly of rowing or coaching outings at fairly regular intervals during the week, requiring some self discipline in terms of bed times, which it took a while to admit (slept through term 1’s lectures in the first year – not the best plan!).

Returning home in the morning I soak luxuriously in a hot tub for quarter of an hour or more, having no lectures before 10am .

Then a couple of lectures, or maybe a practical, and maybe even a supervision, all muddled into the hours before 7pm. It sometimes feels like the “structured teaching” breaks up my work schedule, but they’re important and useful, so I do make the effort to go.

Email around lunch is traditional, with a possible drawn out sojourn in the Corpus Caf� which is in the bar at lunch time. Otherwise I cook for myself. Then more often than not I am out with society/church/College involvement for a couple of hours in the evening, then home to bed, possibly via the bar, to start it all again. Generally the ethos I’ve put into action is “work hard, play hard”.

Jin, Modern Medieval Languages

8.20am: Press ‘sleep’ button on alarm.

8.29am: Press ‘sleep’ button on alarm.

8.38am: Press ‘sleep’ button on alarm.

8.44am: Drag carcass slowly out of bed. Look out of window and admire New Court, again.

9.02am: Arrive for 9am lecture and bask in warmth of lecture hall.

10.03am: Get back to Corpus and check pigeon hole. Excitedly find note instructing me to see porters to collect a ‘special package.’ Open cheque-book. Lament at not being loved.

10.06am: Return to room and eat hot bacon roll from ‘Smiley’s’ shop opposite Corpus. Give in to temptation of post-breakfast German grammar exercises.

10.55am: Decide to walk to translation class. Feel virtuous for having done last week’s rather difficult homework quite well. Gasp with horror upon seeing the homework for the next week.

11.10am: Meet friends outside faculty buildings and decide to find faculty coffee shop for glorious, sweet, reviving coffee.

12.20pm: Return to Corpus for lunch. Knock on friends’ doors and wake the historians among them.

13.05pm: Gravitate automatically with friends towards JCR. Lose a game of pool, yet again.

13.30pm: Return to room and start reading set text for Friday supervision.

16.15am: Meet friend in Starbucks for extravagant coffee.

17.05pm: Go to library.

19.05pm: Return to room to get ready for formal hall. Wonder if I look as stupid in my gown to others as I do to myself. Rush to bar to meet friends.

19.35pm: Finally get to sit and eat after arrival of Fellows and the long latin prayers. Remembered to switch off mobile- phew. Open wine.

19.55pm: Open more wine.

22.30pm: Asked to leave bar (closing time). Feel able to win at pool. Give up.

23.05pm: Go to room with friends and wine.

00.30am: Go to the “van of life” to find beloved chickenburger sustenance. See shorter queue and end up at the “van of death” instead. Try not too look behind the counter whilst eating.

00.40am: Go to bed satisfied.

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